The Chamonix – Zermatt crossing is a must, a classic and a long-distance hike for mid-mountain walkers. This trek links two great capitals of the Alps, Chamonix Mont-Blanc in France and Zermatt in Switzerland, crossing from West to East a part of the Valaisan Alps.

The Mont-Blanc, the Grand Combin, the Matterhorn, the Weisshorn, the Mischabels, the Mont Rose and many others. Here are some great mountains that offer the ideal setting for a beautiful hike.

Lac de Riffel, au dessus de Zermatt, sur la Traversée Chamonix - Zermatt

If the Haute Route by the glaciers is well known to mountaineers, hikers take a very different route. It is the version “by the paths”, which goes between 2000 and 3000m of altitude, in mid-mountains, on varied and non-glacial grounds.

It is a demanding hike, which requires a certain level of practice, as well as technical ease on all types of terrain. This program is more difficult than the Tour du Mont-Blanc. A conscientious preparation is therefore necessary and a guarantee of success!

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About the Chamonix-Zermatt crossing

A technical path is a trail with particularly uneven terrain and a very heterogeneous surface (tread, all types of terrain).  The path is therefore less “rolling”, more irregular, and requires more attention and caution from the hiker.

Some of these technical passages can cause, when the ground requires it:

  • The crossing of permanent installations (wired handrails, ladders, footbridges…)
  • The use of technical equipment (use of a rope to protect a progression, use of crampons on hard snow)
  • To be able to demonstrate ease of movement and technical skills (where and how to place one’s feet in order to progress with maximum safety)
  • The use of knowledge and a technical skills based on years of experience (being able to adopt the best behavior and make the best decision)

The technicality of a path can be represented on the entire itinerary or only a portion of it. Its crossing requires a more sustained effort of concentration. In fact, the energy spent on the expenditure linked to the physical and psychological effort is more important. This has an impact on the time needed to complete the route and should be taken into account when preparing the trip. Of course, the same applies to recovery time.

All technical paths can be crossed, as long as you are calm, analytical, and methodical. Nothing is impossible as long as you have been expecting it, preparing it and now that you are taking action!

When in doubt, call on a professional who can guide you in the choices and decisions to be made. This is by far the best way to go!

This comes down to defining what an expert is!

He is the one who knows his practice very well and who can attest to his skills. Trained, knowledgeable, already experienced in some significant experiments, his objective is to perfect his art in practice by multiplying the experiments as often as possible.

If you define yourself as such, then don’t hesitate to consult all our programs that mention the expert level.

When in doubt, call in a professional!

These are two hiking itineraries of several days each, on mountain ranges subject to the same constraints and dynamics. The mountain environment presents the same characteristics (ecosystem, weather/climate, relief and landscapes…). These two hikes are therefore as beautiful as each other, however, the Chamonix – Zermatt is more difficult than the Tour du Mont-Blanc, because :

  • The very large number of people on the TMB has encouraged the formation of a wider trail. The path is much more “rolling”, convenient and “smoothed” by the passage of hikers, mountain bikers, pack animals). Walking is therefore easier on the TMB trails.
  • The Chamonix-Zermatt trails cross passes that are higher in altitude. The physical effort is therefore more demanding and the climatic constraints potentially more severe.
  • The Chamonix – Zermatt itinerary presents stages or portions of stages that are more technical (the crossing of the Grand Desert for example). Overall, the trails are narrower, and there are more exposed passages that require more physical and psychological effort.
  • The Chamonix – Zermatt program offers a much greater daily vertical drop and total distance covered. The management of the effort and the recovery time requires more experience.

In fact, one must know one’s own aptitudes (to know one’s level as well as one’s limits…) and always prepare one’s hike well (to know one’s itinerary and to have the appropriate equipment).

Practice makes perfect! 💪

By making day trips that offer an equivalent or more demanding level of difficulty. By multiplying experiences that reinforce our skills and abilities (diversifying practice environments and modes of execution, forcing our talent in order to increase our level of practice and technicality), by promoting the acquisition of new skills (map reading, navigation with the compass or GPS for example).

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